Dorothy Bury Shaw
Artful Renderings
Born and raised in Chicago, Dorothy attended the Chicago Academy of Fine Art for four glorious years.  During that time, she fully immersed herself in an intense study of art and its history.  The school, which closed in the late 1970's, had many noteworthy instructors with impressive installations in galleries, solo exhibitions and museums.  When not in class, she soaked up the art culture throughout the city, attending openings or cloistering herself within the Art Institute of Chicago's archives in a private viewing room where she studied sketches and minor works not on display.  She felt as if she was looking upon sacred scrolls as she poured over the old pages and saw the thumb prints and ink smudges, alternate signatures of the artists.  In class, observing other students, she  learned to appreciate all disciplines, all mediums, conventional and alternate both.  In the end she came full circle with a love for contemporary art.  With a major in illustration, most of her classes overlapped with the fine arts curriculum she craved.  To say she was happy is an understatement. 

Dorothy began her art career as an editorial freelance illustrator.  For several years her work appeared regularly in Chicago Magazine, the Chicago Sun Times, the Tribune, Midwest Magazine and others. Although gratifying, she came to know fine art was her true calling. In years that followed life took her in many directions. There were times of great joy and times of profound loss.  Through it all not a day passed that she did not draw. Today she takes inspiration for her art from the bounty of rich, evocative life experiences and relationships that continues to this day.

It was a severe storm that snapped her into the powerful, distinctive style of art she now produces.  Flood waters poured through low windows of neighbors’ homes, just a few yards from where Dorothy’s studio lay waiting.  She sensed the certainty of impending loss and life being changed forever.  Nature’s unrelenting force had exposed the raw, open jaws of her artist's spirit gasping for air, near drowning. That very night after a long day fighting approaching waters, sleep deprived and feeling anxious, she found her sketchbook and pens and sat down to draw.  Forms with intricate line work rushed forth and she did not want to stop. Her spirit and heart were engaged in powerful, pointed conversations. Rusty gears were suddenly in motion. Startled by the impact of this awareness, she watched in amazement as images and patterns covered her paper. She felt the ancients surround her with a drumming chant of solidarity as her pen followed the beat of their rhythms. Incredibly, as she worked the flood waters receded without serious damage to her home. She looked upon her sketches and knew it was just the beginning.  There was no questioning the rightness of it.


Dorothy’s work involves the intricate weaving of line and shape in ink renderings of painstaking detail. The patterns she creates are borrowed from nature and the art of many cultures, architecture, textiles, pottery, mosaic and manuscripts, past and present.  She is influenced by tribal art, ancient religious ceremonial dress, folklore and myth.  Within her images, patterns and colors utilize the rich use of symbolism.  It infuses her art with a mystical quality. 


Dorothy Bury Shaw now resides in Downers Grove, Illinois with art her full time focus. In 2014 she began to show her work in art exhibits, festivals and gallery events, winning numerous awards.  Her work hangs in many homes throughout the United States and England, with some pieces in France and Israel.


"The first path I take will forever be the well worn path I walk with the Divine.  My faith journey is not one of finding, but more one of remembering the One from whence I came, the One who knew me before time began.   It is the path of old companions who cherish each other.  My Beloved holds the lantern when darkness falls and leads the way.  My thinking is universalist, my faith is primal, but my spirit rests deep in the arms of the God I adore above all else.  I am Catholic, I am Christian, but consider these the garments I wear.  Stripped of all adornments, I stand with you all in perfect union with the One who is Love. 

The second path which adjoins the first is that of my art.  Every step along this twisting, turning adventure has brought me closer to uncovering what was written into the code of my soul, fully formed.  When I honor this awareness it comes through in my work. I do believe my art is God-given.  The renderings I produce surprise me as much as they impress others.  Although they are very time consuming, they are somehow effortless.   Now that I’ve found my voice again, through my art, I never want to stop." 

~Dorothy Bury Shaw

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